January 15th, 2021

Closing arguments delayed by illness of man who stabbed high school students


By The Canadian Press on January 13, 2021.

This photo from the RCMP's Integrated Homicide Investigation Team's Twitter feed shows Gabriel Klein taken just hours prior to a deadly attack at Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 2016. Final arguments are scheduled to being today over the criminal responsibility of a man who fatally stabbed a student and wounded another at a high school in Abbotsford, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Twitter-@HomicideTeam

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. – Final arguments in a hearing for a man who stabbed two high school students in Abbotsford, B.C., have been postponed because the man is ill.

Gabriel Klein was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in March for the 2016 attack that killed 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and injured her friend.

The court has heard Klein has schizophrenia and his lawyer is arguing in the B.C. Supreme Court that he should not be held criminally responsible for the crimes because of a mental disorder.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes says she wanted to ask more about Klein’s condition but was “extremely anxious” about his presence in the courtroom because he was ill.

She asked the sheriff to return Klein to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital immediately and suggested the hearing be suspended while he is in transit so she could discuss next steps with defence and Crown lawyers.

Holmes says no one who is sick should be in any courthouse.

“We don’t bring people into the courtroom if they’re ill,” she says, adding that it doesn’t matter if the proper paperwork has been completed or not.

“He should not be here.”

Technical difficulties with an audio feed meant that Klein’s lawyer, Martin Peters, could not be heard when asked to elaborate on Klein’s condition.

The court arranged to reconvene at 2 p.m. Wednesday with Klein participating by video if he was feeling well enough.

In November, Klein told the court he lost control of his thoughts and feelings on the day of the stabbings.

Klein testified that he saw a witch and a zombie with maggots coming out of its back, not the two girls.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021.

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